Delhi: Pakistan on November 26 had approved Russia's request to use the strategic Gwadar Port for its exports, signalling a new alignment in bilateral relations after decades' of sour ties during the Cold War era..
It was also reported that Moscow has also shown its willingness to be part of the $46-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Following are 10 things to know about the development:
- Following Iran and Turkmenistan, Russia decided to use the Gwadar Port for trade to have an access to warm waters.
- If formal authorisation to Russia is given to join the CPEC, both countries will enhance cooperation in economic, defence and intelligence matters.
- Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, who was on a two-day visit to Turkmenistan at the end of November, had then welcomed the Russian decision to join CPEC.
- Sharif had maintained that Pakistan would welcome participation of any country in the gigantic project. He had told journalists that many countries wanted to join CPEC as half of the world would benefit from the project.
- China and Pakistan are building the nearly 3,000-km-long economic corridor linking Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea with Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
- Reports had said that it was possible that the agreement may be signed when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Pakistan in 2017 as scheduled.
- It had been reported in Pakistani media that the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov had made a secret visit to Pakistan. He is said to have met senior military officials.
- As per reports, this was the first visit by a Russian intelligence agency’s head to Pakistan in 14 years. Bilateral cooperation in intelligence and defence were supposedly discussed in the meetings.
- Interestingly Russia had last month denied Pakistan media reports which had said that Moscow was looking to involve itself in CPEC.
- But recently Russia's ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y Dedov was quoted as saying that Russia and Pakistan have held discussions merge Moscow's Eurasian Economic Union project with the CPEC. He had added that Russia "strongly" supported CPEC because it was important for Pakistan's economy and for regional connectivity.